Four-year-old Mr Melody captured his first G1 title in this year's Takamatsunomiya Kinen at Japan's Chukyo Racecourse. Debuting in November of his 2-year-old season, the Scat Daddy colt marked two wins and two seconds in his first four starts on dirt. Registering his first graded win in his first start on turf in the Falcon Stakes (G3) at Chukyo Racecourse last March, he has since been raced on turf, including his runner-up effort in the year-end Hanshin Cup and a seventh in the previous Hankyu Hai (G3) in February.
Third pick Mr Melody broke smoothly from stall three and settled around fourth, inside Danon Smash. Though meeting traffic entering the lane, the Scat Daddy colt found an open space between horses, surged out behind Seiun Kosei, who had overtaken the front after entering the lane, and briefly dueled with the chestnut but assumed command 150 meters out for his first G1 title.
“He was in good form and I was able to race him as planned,” said jockey Yuichi Fukunaga. “I tried to position him toward the front and was able to find an open space in the lane at the right timing. He's a capable horse, being able to handle his first G1 1,200-meter race on turf with a win. There are many options for him going forward as he can also cover 1,400 meters as well as dirt surface.”
Bred in Kentucky by Bell Tower Thoroughbreds, Mr Melody was consigned to the 2017 OBS April Sale by Harris Training Center LLC, Agent, and purchased for $400,000 by Narvick International after breezing an eighth in :10 flat at the Under Tack Show. The colt's record is now 10-4-3-0 and he has earned $2,004,493. Mr Melody is out of the unraced Deputy Minister mare Trusty Lady, herself out of the multiple graded stakes winner Klassy Kim.
This win marked trainer Hideaki Fujiwara's 10th JRA-G1 win following last year's Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas) with Epoca d'Oro and jockey Yuichi Fukunaga's 23rd JRA-G1 win and third Takamatsunomiya Kinen title following his win with Sunningdale in 2004 and Big Arthur in 2016.
Quick out of the gate, 12th pick Seiun Kosei immediately led the field and, while overtaken by Mozu Superflare turning the corners, recaptured the front 300 meters out. Though soon overtaken by the eventual winner, the 6-year-old Admire Moon chestnut held on well, holding off the strong challenge by Shonan Anthem, for second place.
Seventeenth pick Shonan Anthem settled in mid-division and was positioned right behind Mr Melody when facing the homestretch. The son of Jungle Pocket surged out behind the eventual winner with a powerful drive that marked the second fastest over last three furlongs but was a head short of Seiun Kosei.
Race favorite Danon Smash settled within striking distance, around 3-4th from the front, and made bid from the outside entering the homestretch but was unable to reach the top three, finishing 0.2 seconds behind in fourth.
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